Report: Journalists Debated Whether Government Should Shut Down Fox News

Fox News

A group of liberal journalists used a now-defunct listserv to debate the merits of whether the federal government should forcibly shut down Fox News, according to a report in The Daily Caller.

The online publication earlier reported that the journalists in the private group discussed ways to shield Barack Obama from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright scandal when Obama was a presidential candidate. The latest article showed that several members of Journolist aired complaints about Fox News on the listserv in March of this year and debated how best to rein it in.

Guardian columnist Daniel Davies, who said he was “genuinely scared” of the network, reportedly said “peer pressure” and “self-regulation” were not working. “In order to have even a semblance of control, you need a tough legal framework,” he said. According to the report, UCLA law professor Jonathan Zasloff urged the federal government to stop the network.

“I hate to open this can of worms, but is there any reason why the FCC couldn’t simply pull their broadcasting permit once it expires?” he wrote. Time’s Michael Scherer said Fox News used criticism only to build “tribal identity,” but questioned whether the White House should be distinguishing between media organizations like that.

But Zasloff went further, suggesting it was acceptable for the White House to pick and choose which reporters get press passes — a concept Scherer again questioned. According to the report, the New Republic’s John Judis said Scherer’s skepticism would make sense “pre-fox.” “Now it is only tactical,” he wrote.

Tucker Carlson, a Fox News contributor who started the online Daily Caller, said Wednesday that the listserv commentary as a whole proves the press took sides in the presidential election. “It’s an appalling story. It’s something that a lot of us suspected was going on. This verifies, in fact, it was going on,” he told Fox News.

In 2008, journalists working for Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic expressed outrage on the listserv over the tough questioning Obama received from ABC anchors Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos at a debate. Some of them plotted to protect Obama from the swirling Wright controversy, according to the Daily Caller.

Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent pressed his fellow journalists to deflect attention from Obama’s relationship with Wright by shifting topics to one of Obama’s conservative critics, the Daily Caller reported. “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares – and call them racists,” Ackerman wrote. Michael Tomasky, a writer for the Guardian, urged his fellow members of Journolist to do “what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy in whatever venues we have.”

“This isn’t about defending Obama,” he wrote. “This is about how the (mainstream media) kills any chance of discourse that actually serves the people.” Journolist was shut down last month after leaks exposing member Dave Weigel’s scornful remarks of conservatives led to his resignation at the Washington Post as a blogger covering the conservative movement.

David Cameron presents Barack Obama with graffiti art


A painting by a graffiti artist was among the official gifts to Barack Obama from David Cameron on his first trip to Washington as prime minister.

The work, Twenty First Century City, is by Ben Eine, said to be one of the PM’s wife Samantha’s favourite artists.

The 39-year-old artist recently sprayed the entire alphabet on shop shutters in a London street.

Mr Obama continued the art theme by presenting the Camerons with a signed lithograph by pop artist Ed Ruscha.

The piece, Column with Speed Lines, was chosen for its red, white and blue colours matching the British and American flags.

Beer bet

Writing on his website, Ben Eine said it had been a “weird day” because “David Cameron has given one of my paintings to President Obama in an art swap”.

The artist, who has worked with Banksy, began his career by “tagging” his name on buildings and trains around east London, examples of which are featured on his website under the heading “vandalism”.

In recent years he has been asked to decorate shutters in cities as far afield as Tokyo and New York…

Las Vegas Review-Journal Sues Disabled Vet

Posted by The Rational Right

Imagine for a moment your grandmother creating a blog to talk about her gardening. One of her friends leaves a comment on her blog with a news article about gardens in her area. Sounds innocent enough? Actions like this happen every second on the Internet.

Now imagine the news source in the comment suddenly, without warning, suing your grandmother for the comment left on her blog, demanding high monetary compensation and possibly even control of her blog.

Incidents like this happen all the time. The latest targets of these types of lawsuits include Jim Robinson, a disabled veteran, and his website Free Republic is one of the oldest Conservative news discussion forums on the Internet. It is also non-commercial, relying on donations from members to keep the lights on. At Free Republic, members of the public can post and discuss news articles and most of these member’s identities remain anonymous.

One of these anonymous members posted a news article from the website of the Las Vegas Review-Journal without the awareness that this publication has contracted with Righthaven LLC to track down and file lawsuits against anyone who posts articles from their website. According to the Las Vegas Sun, over 70 such lawsuits have been filed by Righthaven on behalf of the Las Vegas Review-Journal since the first of the year, many against small blogs or, like the Free Republic incident, against forums whose anonymous members have posted articles…

According to postings at Free Republic, the owner never received a take-down request, and if he had, would have removed the articles immediately.  Free Republic has been very vigilant in providing members “no post” or “excerpt only” lists of publications that wish to limit distribution of their material.   Unfortunately for Free Republic and countless other websites, notification of the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s request seems to have come in the form of a lawsuit with no prior notification of their wishes or any take-down notification as required by the safe harbor act of the DMCA.

To complicate matters even further, all article pages at the Las Vegas Review-Journal include links encouraging members to share the content on social networking sites. These links share the title and URL of the article, but provide little guidance to the average person, of what they are or aren’t allowed to post. In the context of the massive amount of lawsuits filed by Righthaven and the Las Vegas Review-Journal, one could come to an opinion that this may be more of a revenue scheme versus legitimately protecting copyrights.

We strongly believe in the protection of one’s intellectual property and respecting copyrights, however, in this day and age of social media, the line of what can be shared versus protected is rarely clear.  Luckily for blogs and other website owners, the safe harbor provisions in the DMCA and case law such as Viacom v. YouTube provide protections to citizens from these unclear judgments.

For groups like Righthaven, I’m sure the hope is that a majority of these small websites don’t fight but instead seek to hand over a monetary settlement. What is needed, however, is for any number of these sites to stand up and say “enough” of these predatory practices.

UPDATE (LV SUN):  Website operators use new defenses to fight R-J copyright suits

Dealergate: Destroying Jobs in the Name of “Shared Sacrifice”

By Michelle Malkin

Everything you need to know about the nightmare of government-controlled businesses can be found in a damning new inspector general’s report on Dealergate. The independent review of how and why the Obama administration forced Chrysler and General Motors to oversee mass closures of car dealerships across the country reveals grisly incompetence, fatal bureaucratic hubris and Big Labor cronyism. No wonder you won’t hear much about the report’s in-depth details in the so-called mainstream media.

Under the guise of “saving” the American auto industry through a bipartisan, taxpayer-funded bailout now topping $80 billion, President Obama’s know-nothing bureaucrats pushed the car companies to eliminate thousands of jobs — with unjustified haste using dubious economic models…

Team Obama’s government auto mechanics also ignored the economic impact of rushing those closures. According to Barofsky, they discounted counter-testimony from industry officials that “closing dealerships in an environment already disrupted by the recession could result in an even greater crisis in sales.”

The inspector general also noted that “it is clear that tens of thousands of dealership jobs were immediately put in jeopardy as a result of the terminations by GM and Chrysler.” After extensive investigation, the watchdog concluded that “the acceleration of dealership closings was not done with any explicit cost savings to the manufacturers in mind.” Only after Capitol Hill critics — both Republican and Democrat — started questioning the Dealergate decisions did Obama’s auto “experts” come up with market studies and estimated job loss data to assess the impact of their reckless, arbitrary orders…

..In search of the rationale for Team Obama’s bizarre, job-killing exercise of power over thousands of small car dealerships, the TARP inspector general may have stumbled onto the truth from Bloom. On page 33 of its report, Barofsky writes that “no one from Treasury, the manufacturers or from anywhere else indicated that implementing a smaller or more gradual dealership termination plan would have resulted in the cataclysmic scenario spelled out in Treasury’s response; indeed, when asked explicitly whether the Auto Team could have left the dealerships out of the restructurings, Mr. Bloom, the current head of the Auto Team, confirmed that the Auto Team ‘could have left any one component (of the restructuring plan) alone,’ but that doing so would have been inconsistent with the President’s mandate for ‘shared sacrifice.’” “Social justice” chickens coming home to roost.

Obama’s Latest Monstrosity

American Spectator – By John Berlau

The 2,315 page Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill that President Obama will sign today should not be called “financial reform.” Instead the bill, which passed the Senate 60-39 last week when Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown joined Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to grant cloture, should be called what for what it is: pages and pages of massively costly, counterproductive and possibly unconstitutional mandates on nearly every type of business except for those government-sponsored enterprises at the root of the crisis. And while the bill claims to crack down on excesses on Wall Street, its harshest impact will likely be on Main Street businesses that had nothing to do with the meltdown.

A front-page Wall Street Journal article this week noted that “far from Wall Street, President Barack Obama’s financial regulatory overhaul… will leave tracks across the wide-open landscape of American industry.” The Journal notes that “the bill will touch storefront check cashiers, city governments, [and] small manufacturers.”

But one thing it will leave totally untouched is the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which new research by Congress’s Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and other bodies shows was even more of a prime factor in the subprime boom than originally assumed.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency now reports that Fannie and Freddie purchased 40 percent of all private-label subprime securities in 2003 and 2004. Indeed, according to Edward Pinto, housing scholar and Fannie’s former chief credit officer, millions of mortgages to borrowers with credit scores of less than 660, considered by prominent researchers to be the dividing line for subprime loans, had been labeled by Fannie and Freddie as prime going back as early as 1993.

Rather than wait for Congress’s own Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to issue its report in December to examine the role of the GSEs and other causes, Congress passed a bill that will not prevent future bubbles and imposes untold costs that will put the country in danger of slipping back into a recession.

New collateral requirements on derivatives could cost U.S. companies as much as $1 trillion in lost capital and liquidity, according to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association. And as the WSJ piece notes, these costs would hit not just big banks, but farmers who use derivatives to hedge the price of their crops and fuel for their tractor.

The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could also hit retailers that issue credit tangentially related to their business, such as small stores that offer layaway plans.

On the other side of the retail ledger, some of the biggest retailers also got an unjustified mandated benefit with the Durbin amendment that puts price controls on the interchange fees they pay to process credit cards. This corporate welfare for fat cat merchants will mean higher costs to consumers, community banks, and credit unions.

In addition, the bill contains provisions that will empower special interests at the expense of ordinary shareholders and that may exceed the limits of the U.S. Constitution. The bill’s “orderly liquidation” authority will allow the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department not only to bail out firms whose failure is deemed to be a threat to “financial stability,” but to actually seize firms that are not even asking for a bailout…

Disenfranchising those who serve us valiantly

American Thinker – By Ed Lasky

In the wake of controversy regarding the Department of Justice complacency regarding violation of voting rights by New Black Panther Party members comes news that the DOJ is also freely granting waivers that allow states to ignore the votes of our citizens in the military:

From the Washington Times, commenting on the disaster of 2008 when many thousands of military votes were uncounted (and could very well have made a difference in the Minnesota race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken):

Much of this disaster could have been avoided by the Voting Section of the Justice Department, and without swift action, the Voting Section will cause a similar disaster in 2010 despite congressional efforts to fix the problem.

The primary hurdle, according to most experts, is time. Nearly every military-voting expert agrees that absentee ballots must be sent to overseas military voters at least 45 days before an election to give those voters sufficient time to receive and return their ballots. The Military Postal Service Agency goes one step further and recommends that absentee ballots be sent to war zones 60 days before an election.

Unfortunately, states have been slow to revamp their voting laws to accommodate a 45-day mailing standard. Before the 2008 election, at least 10 states and the District of Columbia provided military voters with just 35 days or fewer to receive and return their ballots. Overall, the Pew Center on the States found that “more than a third of states [did] not provide military voters stationed abroad with enough time to vote or [were] at high risk of not providing enough time.”

Yet the primary entity responsible for protecting military voters, the Voting Section, decided not to pursue those states even though federal law (i.e., the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act) gave the section wide latitude to protect military voters.

Thousands of military members were disenfranchised because their votes came in too late to be counted. Congress acted by requiring states to send ballots much earlier-at least 45 days before an election unless a state requested a waiver. That is the nub of the problem.

The Voting Section of the DOJ is in control of granting waivers. A few months ago, a senior official of the department informed an audience of state officials that the waiver provision was “ambiguous” and tipped his hand by indicating that the DOJ would be flexible regarding granting waivers.

In other words-wink, wink-states will not be sued for failure to send absentee ballots to our men and women in uniform. They can be disenfranchised again-with no penalties…

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